It's Time to Give Our Cities a Second Chance - OZY | A Modern Media Company

It's Time to Give Our Cities a Second Chance

It's Time to Give Our Cities a Second Chance

By Amanda Bungartz


Because an expanding economy should mean more opportunity for everyone.

By Amanda Bungartz

OZY and JPMorgan Chase have partnered to take a deeper look at how businesses can impact society for the better. Enjoy the rest of our special series here.

You can hear the sounds of growing neighborhoods. Old homes are getting new roofs, floors and windows. Parks and trees are popping up, creating green spaces and gathering places for communities. Streets are flooded with people once again, filling the air with a palpable sense of energy. For a city that has lost more than half of its residents since World War II, these developments have also brought dramatic growth and renewed hope. Welcome to the new Motor City.

Detroit is in the midst of a renaissance. And while a number of cities are experiencing a revitalization much like this, others are being left behind. Recent studies by MIT Economics have shown that the modern economic realities of automation, outsourcing and foreign competition have squeezed our nation’s labor force, especially across the Midwest and Southeast. From the steel mills of Indiana to Virginia’s coal mines, the seismic shift from industrial production and manufacturing to a service and tech-driven economy has hobbled many of America’s once thriving metropolises.

Detroit’s growth remains dependent on cooperation to help solve our biggest challenges.

Mike Duggan, Mayor of Detroit

That’s why, on September 12th, JPMorgan Chase announced AdvancingCities a $500 million, five-year initiative to drive inclusive growth and bolster long-term vitality in communities around the world that have not reaped the benefits of a growing economy.

Detroit is just one example of what can happen when public, private and nonprofit groups work together to invest in economic recovery, serving as an inspiration for this new initiative. Over the course of five years, JPMorgan Chase has invested more than $150 million into rebuilding the city of Detroit. Working with the mayor’s office and a host of local groups, the goal of the joint effort was to accelerate Detroit’s recovery, with particular emphasis on stabilizing neighborhoods, training workers for the current job market and bolstering small businesses. Drawing inspiration from this proven model of success — which JPMorgan Chase refers to as the Model for Impact — the AdvancingCities initiative was born.


“Like many cities, Detroit’s growth remains dependent on cooperation to help solve our biggest challenges,” says Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan. “JPMorgan Chase has been at the table with us for a long time, and their investment has been critical to ensuring the city’s recovery benefits everyone,” he adds — noting that he hopes the lessons learned in his city can be applied elsewhere.

With so many cities facing the same challenge of generating inclusive economic growth, JPMorgan Chase will extend the key insights and takeaways from AdvancingCities with policymakers, community leaders and private sectors around the world, allowing others the opportunity to translate these findings into immediate action.

After all, doesn’t every city deserve a second chance?


To read more about the revitalization of Detroit and the ways in which it inspired JPMorgan Chase’s AdvancingCities initiative, check out these other articles on OZY:

Detroit Can Teach Us All a Lesson About Making a Comeback

This 2017 op-ed by Jamie Dimon, chairman and CEO of JPMorgan Chase, explores how Detroit’s true spirit of partnership and pragmatism — from its policymakers to its leaders and nonprofits — has been a primary driver in its remarkable comeback and continued progress. Teaser: You may end up booking a trip to Detroit for an up-close view of the city’s astonishing transformation.

Detroit: From Bankruptcy To Books

Detroit is a city of stories — and the ending has yet to be written. This feature, first published in 2013, shows how Detroit’s renaissance also gave rise to a vibrant literary scene — authors, poets and artists are flocking to the city for its affordable housing and to be a part of a city that’s re-creating itself. Teaser: You might discover that one of your favorite authors is actually a Detroit native.

Detroit’s Multifaceted Approach to Recovery

Population decline in Wayne County, home to Detroit, is slowing — hitting a two-decade low — but there’s a story behind the numbers. In an article published in mid-2018, we explore how the focus on improving quality of life — for current residents and to attract newcomers — is a big part of what helped Detroit bounce back. Teaser: Detroiters spend more on local goods and services than residents of any other U.S. city. How’s that for community spirit?

Can This Fund Make Detroit the Capital of Tech for Good?

As in any modern city, Detroit’s entrepreneurs are vital participants in its recovery. This 2017 feature looks at how local startups not only create jobs, but also help serve their surrounding communities and power the broader economy. And thanks to a collaboration between JPMorgan Chase and a regional community college, there’s a fund that nurtures early-stage, Detroit-area enterprises. Teaser: Take notes if you’ve got a startup looking for support.

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